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Entries in Chris Nolan (35)


King Aragorn... and Other Luminaries

It's a big day for your Lord of the Rings fans, even if you don't know it. Read on.

On this day in history as it relates to the movies
1882 Bela Lugosi is born in what was then Hungary (and now Romania). He vants to suck your blood as the original big screen Dracula. A century later Martin Landau will win a justly deserved Oscar for playing him in Tim Burton's wonderful Ed Wood (1994).
1895 Rex Ingram, one of the earliest successful black actors in Hollywood was born. Credits include: The Thief of Baghdad (as the genie), Huckleberry Finn (as Jim), and Cabin in the Sky (as Lucifer Jr)... 

1901 Frank Churchill is born in Maine. He wrote songs people still listen to today including "Baby Mine" from Dumbo and "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Tragically he committed suicide at age 40 mere months after his winning his Oscar for Dumbo...

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Screening Room Attempts to Recreate Theater Experience In Your Living Room By Subtracting Everything That Makes It A Theater Experience

Daniel Crooke, here. In one corner: art house cinemas, regional and independent theater chains, and the flickering hope that sitting in a dark room while watching strangers’ problems projected onto a screen will warm you from the inside out. In the other: Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson, Justin Timberlake in The Social Network and the redheaded squirt from The Andy Griffith Show. Somewhere beyond the ropes, off in the stands, or wherever spectators chill in a sports metaphor: you, the audience, wondering how the hell you can just lean back and watch a damn movie. The fight: whether Sean Parker’s in-home moviegoing composite, Screening Room – which offers the chance to stream day-in-date releases of top shelf studio releases in the comfort of your own home – accessibly accessorizes or fundamentally destroys movies as we know, watch, and profit from them. Is it a forward thinking, easy-making application or Napster’s file sharing, older sister with a Friedkin poster on the wall? A brave new venture or a brave new world?

Doomsday scenarios and potential benefits after the jump...

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"By the Hoary Hosts of Hogarth, it's hard to keep up!"

Lukewarm off the presses! Herewith a collection of very brief thoughts on this, that, and the other things that we haven't had time to comment on but definitely wanted to note. Please to discuss in the comments. 

• By now you've seen Entertainment Weekly's gallery of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange. The film arrives in 311 days which means most movie blogs have about 622 more articles left to write about it in "anticipation" BLARAARGGGH! How to reverse the equation and get people to write the bulk of their thoughts on movies AFTER seeing them? Even Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme probably can't cast a spell that powerful. I have three things to say about these photos. 1) I still find Cumberbatch's casting weird because his face is so non angular / eyeberowless both of which are complete opposites of traditional depictions of the sorcerer 2) can't anyone ever find a way to represent magic that isn't shapeless CGI color beams. I beg filmmakers to try something new since this is literally the only way it's been done since CGI took over the cinema. 3) Marvel superheroes are always trying to make wing-tip hairdos happen --- see also Wolverine -- but it never translates into the real world trends. 

• Tired of movie awards yet? Too bad. You've still got two months of it to go. The latest critics orgs to throw their hat in the ring is the Austin Film Critics. They chose Mad Max for top hours but Room won the most prizes (3) taking Actress (Brie Larson), Breakthrough (Jacob Tremblay) and Adapted Screenplay (Emma Donoghue)

• Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been seen by 25% of the Earth's population already (we're guessing) we're getting the usual raft of what might be in the next film articles (including the silly/wonderful Poe & Finn are gay for each other fanfic wishful thinking) and a flood of info on what could have been... the post-movie release equivalent of the what-might-be speculation articles the internet is a hardcore junkie for. (ANYTHING TO NOT TALK ABOUT ACTUAL AS-THEY-EXIST MOVIES!) But I will say this: according to /Film our heroine Rey's original name in the script was "Kira" and we should all breathe a huge sigh of relief that they changed it. It's already unfortunate enough that Daisy Ridley stole Keira Knightley's face, clenched jaw stress, and speaking voice (do you think she trapped it in a seashell necklace Ursula style?). If she also had a homophonic name it'd be even more disastrous. Is it silly that I'm really worried about what the Daisy Ridley explosion will due to Keira's Knightley's career?  We've grown so fond of Keira over the years and really admire how much she's pushed herself to grow as an actress taking on challenging roles and stage work and so on.

• The internet is having a field day suggesting that Chris Nolan just can't handle his lack of Oscar nominations at this point and will embark on a World War II film next. Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy are the first announced cast members

• November and December are punishing insatiable mistresses. There are SO MANY new trailers we haven't even managed to do a DIY Yes No Maybe So on including but not limited to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find ThemStar Trek BeyondMidnight Special, The Legend of TarzanThe Nice Guys, Mojave, Storks, Gods of Egypt, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Terminus. Which have you watched and wanted to discuss? I don't even think I said anything about Captain America: Civil War in November and you know how I feel about the good captain. (Hint: pretty much how he feels about Bucky Barnes.) 

new roles for Oscar Isaac

• FINALLY... we're really proud of our web friend Angelica Jade Bastién who's getting a lot of attention for her Atlantic Essay "The Case Against Colorblind Casting" which is a really fascinating read about acceptance versus erasure. It kicks off with the of the moment example of Oscar Isaac, riding high at the moment (and working constantly) on his considerable talent. 

It would be nice to believe that someone as talented as Isaac could have done as well without colorblind casting or an ability to be seen as “ethnically flexible.” Isaac has steadily increased his profile in recent years by bringing intensity and intelligence to vastly different roles...

But his success hasn’t come without compromises. Isaac is open about the choices he’s made in his career including dropping his last name, Hernández. “Starting out as an actor, you immediately worry about being pigeonholed or typecast,” he said to the magazine In. “I don’t want to just go up for the dead body, the gangster, the bandolero, whatever. I don’t want to be defined by someone else’s idea of what an Oscar Hernández should be playing.” His tendency to play characters of different backgrounds extends to his new Star Wars character, whom Isaac has described as “non-ethnic.” Notably, he didn’t say “white” or “racially ambiguous,” instead referring to his character’s absence of ethnicity.

Give it a read


What's Next for Nolan

Kieran here. It was announced yesterday that Christopher Nolan's next feature film will be released on July 21, 2017.  Very specific release date for a project whose title/plot/cast have yet to be revealed, but this is Christopher Nolan after all. I can't think of too many directors who could announce a new project with very few details well over a year in advance and generate this kind of excitement. He's the "arthouse" director of choice for moviegoers who generally scorn the arthouse and yet he's often the fulcrum of the problematic "the Academy doesn't respect populist fare" argument. Quite an odd space to occupy in the consciousness of the cinematically minded.

With this new project, speculation about plot details and recitations of an ideal roster of actors are sure to follow. Questions of genre definitely loom in the back of the mind when you consider Nolan. He tends to work within some combination of sci-fi, mystery and thriller, though it's certainly not on every director to stretch, genre-wise. 

We're much more interested to see if Nolan's characterizations of women (or lack thereof in some cases) changes at all. Regardless of one's opinion about Nolan's overall output, it's hard to refute with any sincerity the argument that female characters in his films often get short shrift. Will this new project be any different? Interstellar, his most recent effort, is the closest he's come to handing the reins of a movie over to a female character. He does ultimately opt for following Matthew McConnaughey drifting solo through space, but you do still get what appear to be the first glimpses (with Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway) of Nolan attempting to imagine female characters from the inside out. Sure, you  could argue that these two women were motivated by their relationships to men, be it paternal or romantic. And yet there was an interest, however marginal, in women that's just not present in his other films.

I instantly thought of Viola Davis, who fit so well into the cold, eerie aesthetic of Steven Soderbergh's Solaris and how rarely she's given front-and-center focus in her non-televised projects. I would be fascinated to see what Davis could do at the center of a Nolan-helmed sci-fi outing. At any rate, aren't you curious to see if Nolan continues to improve his female characters after Interstellar or do you suppose we're in for more spectral wives and asexual audience surrogates?

Will Nolan ever give us a female protagonist?

What would you like to see from Nolan? Which actress could ignite his curiosities in an interesting way? Discuss in the comments.


Interstellar Takes Top Empire Honors

Manuel here bringing you more awards from this past weekend; Nathaniel wasn't the only one still handing out awards for the 2014 film year. The Jameson Empire Awards were handed out this past weekend (as were Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards which were gaga for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1). Unsurprisingly, it was Christopher Nolan's divisive Interstellar which nabbed its two top prizes. 

Nolan was also on hand to receive the Empire Inspiration Award, which I guess was as good an excuse as any to see Jessica Chastain looking fabulous (she presented the award to her Interstellar director).

Check out the full winners list below.

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An Interview with Hans Zimmer

Anne Marie here with an observation: Hans Zimmer's studio is incredible. The ten-time Academy Award nominated composer has furnished his studio in a manner that fits the man who wrote the dramatic scores to Inception, Gladiator, and the Dark Knight trilogy. The walls are deep red, and lined with dark wood bookshelves bursting with books, albums, candles, and knick knacks. Light filters through stained glass-covered hanging lamps. Overstuffed couches and chairs sit on a raised platform. Clashing with this rustic scene are the walls of musical instruments, blinking sound equipment, and Zimmer's high tech work station. It's a lot to take in.

When I'm led into the room for an interview, I'm still recovering from car trouble. I'd been listening to Zimmer's Oscar-nominated score for Interstellar in the car, which had somehow led to my car stalling on the highway. Miraculously, I'm not late. When I meet Hans Zimmer, he is deservedly proud of his workspace, and immediately launches into conversation. Zimmer speaks animatedly of his decorating philosophy, decades-long partnership with Chris Nolan, the trouble with organs, and why he loves the Academy.

Anne Marie: This is an amazing room. This is quite possibly the coolest room I have ever been in.

Hans Zimmer: No, but hang on. There’s a reason. There’s a pragmatic reason: If you had to spend 98% of your life in one room, you might as well have some fun with it. Do you agree?

 Anne Marie: I absolutely agree!

 Hans Zimmer: And you know what, sometimes we just move the furniture out of this way and let the musicians come in, and we just start playing, and wow! Music!

Anne Marie: Oh my goodness! Talk about a great creative space.

Hans Zimmer: And that was, that was partly why I did it. I was sitting with this wonderful editor, Richie Marks, y’know [he] worked on Apocalypse Now, and all the Jim Brooks movies, Penny Marshall [films], The Godfather too. I’m sitting on the couch in his cutting room, I’m sort of leaning back, and I’m looking at the--what do you call those, y’know the ceiling with the sort of… they look like cottage cheese.

Anne Marie: Ceiling tiles I think?

Hans Zimmer: Right? It’s horrible! And the walls, which have this y’know horrible hospital color, and I’m thinking, “This great man is trying to create art!” and y’know the bad linoleum floor. Y’know? And this is, this is, this is, every day he has to go to this horrible room! So, Richie doesn’t actually know this, but it was really partially because I thought, “Poor Richie, in this horrible environment! I’m going to do my own!”

Anne Marie: Well from such an environment, I can see where something dramatic like Interstellar came from. I have to admit, my car stalled on the way here while I was listening to the Interstellar soundtrack!

Hans Zimmer: [Laughs] It’ll do that to cars!

[Interstellar and Oscar Love after the jump...]

Click to read more ...


Beauty vs Beast: Two Total Bettys

JA from MNPP here, surfing the crimson wave to today's round of "Beauty vs Beast" - today would've been the 37th birthday of Brittany Murphy, you guys. And since we can hardly let that terrible Lifetime movie be the absolute and final word on her legacy (I watched about fifteen minute of that thing and I was all, "As if!") let's step our memories back to happier times, when the skirts were short and the socks were knee-high...


It's maybe a stretch to call Tai the villain of Clueless, but she is the antagonist that shakes up Cher's insulated world, so just go with me. And it's not like anybody would vote for Cher's actual nemesis, Designer Imposter Perfume Amber.

You have seven days to negotiate your final grades in the comments!

PREVIOUSLY In celebration of Interstellar's release (here in retrospect I kind of wish I'd waited until I saw the interminable movie first - ugh) we gave last week's competition over to Christopher Nolan's most memorable battle of the comic-book titans, and y'all voted chaos to reign - Heath Ledger's Joker strutted away in a blow-out with over 80% of the vote. Said Daniel Armour:

"If were just talking about The Dark Knight then the Joker. I loved Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman overall but TDK didn't give him as much to do as the other films. Also, Ledger was excellent as The Joker and truly deserved the acclaim - and awards - he got for the film."